Mistress of Disguise

Because modern clothes are stupid

7.20.17 - I haven't been keeping up with my happiness journal very well, for a lot of reasons, but I have already had such a good morning that it deserved a post.

I always check my email first thing in the morning, otherwise the spam tends to build up. I had an email from CreditKarma that my score had gone up, which I expected to be a point or two like it's been doing, but when I check it, it was up 47 points. I nearly flipped my lid, I was so happy! I'm getting very close to getting out of the "she's financial suicide, don't give her anything!" to the "she's alright, give her a loan!" range. Which means we're another step closer to getting a house.

I also had a long talk with Dad while he was taking me to work this morning, and he ended up telling me that he was starting to understand M a lot better than he did, and that he thinks he's smart and hardworking and all around a Good Dude. This was really great to hear, since I've received so much negativity from my parents in the past few months, so it made me really happy. The big difference between my dad and M are their attitudes toward making money - my dad is a big physical labor sort of guy, so if you aren't working hard physically to make money, he sort of doesn't get what you're doing. M is very computer oriented and is actually part owner of an indy videogame company, so he's always on the computer working on new aspects of their next game. Dad has just started with a new company that is very computer based, and he said that now he's finally starting to get what M is doing all day on the computer. I think there was a big shift in how he thought about how M was spending his time (I guess he thought he was just playing around online whenever he was on the computer), and he seems to be really coming around. It was really great to hear.

This weekend ended up being a pretty good one, despite some initial stress. There was a sewing day with the Guild on Saturday, and since I couldn't get a ride from anyone, I ended up having to rent a car. I couldn't flake out on the event since I was supposed to be the one running it, so it was a necessary expense, even though I had to provide more documentation for renting a stupid compact Hyundai then I've had to for anything else in my entire life. (Three forms of ID, a bill in my name proving I live where I live, and two references. WTF, y'all.) Of course, only one other couple ended up coming, so it was just me, M, and the two new folks, but I did manage to get two new 18thC petticoats finished, so at least it was productive.

Since we had the car all weekend (no Sunday returns allowed), M and I ended up taking a long drive in the country on Sunday and enjoying a day to ourselves away from the house. We've been cooped up and pretty much stranded at the house ever since the Lincoln died, and it was so nice to get out and have a little bit of freedom. We drove all along FM 4, which goes through the Palo Pinto "mountains". (They're more like really ambitious hills than real mountains, but they're still pretty.) It was actually still green out, instead of the usual brown we have at this time of year, so it was really lovely.

Also, I fell off the diet wagon pretty hardcore while I was sick, so today it's back to low carbing it. Hopefully I can start losing weight again, because I stalled pretty hard after my initial week and hadn't been losing any more. Maybe the splurging will help kick it into gear.

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My whole weekend flew out the window (not that I had any achievable plans, mind you) when I came down the cold that M brought home with him the other day. Of course, he suffered some sniffles for a day and a half, but I get the full blown version where I become a useless lump that can't get out of bed. I stayed home from work yesterday and stayed in bed (finished off season six of Game of Thrones because I could), but am at work today because I thought I had run out of sick days. Joke's on me, though, because I had 22 hours of sick time saved up, but I can't go home now that I'm here because everyone I know is working until 6, so I'm stranded. Blah. Not having a car really sucks. I'll just stay huddled in my office and cough at anyone that wants me to work too hard.

Speaking of the car, it is officially dead. M hooked up the new fuel pump and reassembled everything, and it still wouldn't crank, which means it's a bigger, more expensive problem somewhere down the line, which is both beyond his ability to fix or my ability to pay for. We were looking for a cheap car to hold us over until M gets his school refund in September (we had hoped the Lincoln would make it until then, but it clearly had other plans), but finding something in our price range (under $800) that doesn't have a whole slew of major mechanical issues was proving to be impossible. Sifting through the ads was pretty amusing though. A lot of them read "great car, interior and exterior in good shape, ran great until it died horribly, but great car".

Indulged in a bit of escapism and did some "lotto shopping". Decided that if I won the jackpot, I would buy this piece of land in the next county over and build a house on one of those peaks. Probably the little knobby one in the far background so I could overlook the valley. I would throw awesome costumed parties there.

4th of Fail
What I had hoped would be a relaxing day off at the house was pretty much anything but. :-/ It turned out that my sister had invited a bunch of people over to swim in our pool, so there were about a dozen people over that I had never met (and didn't care to, honestly). I stayed mostly in my room and let her have the run of the house.

Mom got super drunk, which was no surprise, but it was one of those nights where she gets very short tempered and mean, and she ended up arguing loudly in the front yard with dad while he tried to shoot off fireworks. So, that was fun.

On the bright side, I finished all of season three and half of season four of Game of Thrones. At this pace, I should be all caught up by the time the last season starts in a couple of weeks.

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I had every intention of working on M's new coat over the weekend, but things just did not come together. All my patterns are in the storage unit, as well as the fabric I intend to use and the bolt of muslin I use to make mockups. Grrr. Since the car still isn't fixed, and everyone I know was either gone for the holiday weekend or working, I had no way of getting to the unit to get the things I needed.

So, I stayed home and binged Game of Thrones instead. I hadn't been watching it when it first started because we had canceled our HBO subscription, and I just realized the other day that Hey! We have HBO again! It's probably on demand! I finished seasons one and two over the weekend, and will probably watch season three tomorrow since I have the 4th off. The Kings Landing costumes are beautiful, especially Sansa's stuff because I like her color palette a lot, but poor Natalie Dormer, they just put her in some of the fugliest stuff. They did the same thing to her on the Tudors, poor thing.

Anyway, I did manage to do a little bit of something over the weekend, and built an new website for the Guild's mini-retreat, Costumers Lost Weekend. We had to skip the event this year, but if we get a head start on planning for next year, things should come back together. Since I'm practically the only one at work today, I'm going to do some more research on locations and activities. The group voted on a visit to Fredericksburg, TX for next year's retreat, so I'm trying to dig up cool stuff to do.

I'm trying to get a jump start on 2019, too, which I know is a looong way off, but I'm so freaking excited about the location I want to hold it at that I practically have everything planned out already. XP I can just imagine a Victorian archery event, a lakeside picnic lunch, an Outlander themed dinner, a Game of Thrones breakfast (per suggestions from friends, which I am now totally on board for). There's also a conference room that we can rent for panels and classes. The venue is even in a bona fide Texas ghost town, how cool is that? I think it would be awesome, I just wish we didn't have to wait two years for it! XP At least that allows plenty of time to plan.

The car should (hopefully) be finished today if the part shows up on time, and then I can get to the storage unit and dig out the fabrics I need. I'm really looking forward to starting on this coat project, and I'm excited about the embroidery. I hope I've given myself plenty of time to get it done by September, but if work keeps on being as slow as it is, it shouldn't be a problem.
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I'd like you to take a moment with me to appreciate the absolute insanity of the person that embroidered this extant coat.


This person actually took the time to weave that lattice. A regular lattice is basically just a pair of grids laid on top of each other with the corners couched down. This marvelously insane person actually wove each layer of threads with the next to create the lattice, no couching. On a 1/4" lattice.

Crazy. Awesome.

Trying to Stay Positive
Despite things being stressful and depressing at home, I'm trying to stay positive and direct my energy into things that I can control and that make me happy. I cannot control how other people feel. I can work on projects that bring me some happiness. I cannot change my living situation right now. I can plan events and work on costumes.

So, that's what I've been trying to do. I took the blue stays out of storage and started working on them again. I've managed to finish the boning channels, and I've made a list of all the boning I need to order, so with my next paycheck (if I don't have to buy a car), I can order the boning I need to finish it up. I used the same fabric that I used on these shoes, and I'm trying to decide what accent color to use for the binding and trim. I'm thinking a rose pink, but I haven't quite decided.

I'm going to start bringing some hand-sewing to work with me so I have something to do in my down time. Most days, I have everything completely wrapped up by 10AM, which leaves me with a LOT of time where I'm sitting and staring at walls. I've been working on drawing out the embroidery pattern for M's purple suit, and this weekend I'm going to get the coat pattern mocked up and fit so I can get things started in the fashion fabric pretty soon. I know it's going to take a while to get the embroidery done, since the embroidered waistcoat alone took somewhere around 130 hours, so I need to get started as soon as possible. There's an embroidered waistcoat to match this suit, as well, which adds more work, but that's alright. At least I have a backup waistcoat if I don't get the new one done in time.

I also need to draw out the (considerably more involved) embroidery patterns for M's red suit (he fell in love with some fabric in the stash, so it's becoming a new suit, too) and his green suit that I still haven't finished from the year before last. Maybe I'll actually get those both finished, too, who knows?

Midnight Scare
Had a horrible scare last night. One of my cats has fleas, so I grabbed some flea treatment from the Basket o' Pet Stuff we have in the laundry room, dabbed it on his neck, and went about my evening. It was only later that M realized that it had been dog flea treatment and not cat, and dog flea liquid is toxic to kitties.

We rushed him to the bathroom as soon as we realized it and washed him off about six times with Dawn dish soap, since that's what the product's website said was best. The packaging had a hotline number, which we tried calling, but they wanted $60 just to call the hotline! I don't have $60 in the bank account right now, but thankfully the website told us everything we needed to watch out for and what to do.

We had to watch him all night to see if he developed any symptoms of poisoning, so we took turns staying up and holding him in a snuggly towel. Once he got over the fact that OMG BATH, he settled down into our arms and really started enjoying all the attention we were giving him.

Thankfully, after the 12 hour period they said to wait, he hadn't developed any symptoms, so we think he's in the clear. M is going to keep an eye on him the rest of the day and make sure there's not some sort of delayed reaction, but we don't think he had any time between us giving him the flea stuff and us bathing it off for him to ingest any.

Bad night.

Weekend Woes
Well, just when things started to even out and go well again, the car decided to blow up. M had been driving it all day without problems, too, and when he picked me up we decided to go out to dinner since I had just gotten paid. When we got back into the car after dinner, it refused to start. We tried a few small things, like giving it a shot of starter fluid, checking the fuses, and putting in fuel injector cleaner, but it still wouldn't start. So, it looks like it may be the fuel pump. M is going to be working on replacing the pump today, but if that isn't the problem, that means it's something bigger down the line, and we can't afford to fix anything bigger.

We knew the car was on its last leg - it's been having transmission problems since the weather started warming up, the wiring is shot, the engine is misfiring, and we just had to replace an entire wheel (not the tire) because it was coming apart. At this point, we can't really keep dumping money into it, and there's no real point when replacing the transmission would cost more than the car is worth.

We were going to replace it as soon as M's school refund came through, but if this is truly the death of the car, we may have to buy something super cheap with my next paycheck (like, under $800 cheap) to get us through until then. I can't see us bumming rides with people for the next two months, but neither of us have rebuilt our credit enough to get a loan. Ugh.

I think 2017 is out to get us.

Finding my Groove Again
I think that I'm finally letting go of a lot of my stress and allowing myself to relax a bit. Getting away from everything last weekend really helped, more than I thought it ever would, and I had a Big Talk with M about him helping out more with the chores and packing, which also helped take a few things off my mind.

I actually managed to updated the Guild website some, which it desperately needed, book some upcoming events, and send out a newsletter to our subscribers, which was way overdue. It's so hard for me to focus on costuming stuff when it seems like the walls are caving in, but I finally feel like I'm back in a good place, at least for the moment. It felt good to check a bunch of stuff off the to-do list.

I've even started thinking about sewing projects again, and figuring out how I can work them into my new home circumstances. I'm losing the sewing room, so everything is going to have to happen in my bedroom from now on. We did clear out a bunch of space, and now there's a 5x5 foot space at the foot of the bed where I can set up a mannequin and my sewing machine. It's basically the same thing I did when I was a teenager and my sister was still living at home, so I know I can make it work, as long as M doesn't invade with his massive collection of shoes. XP

A lot of what I need to work on for upcoming events can be done by hand. I have set of stays that I need to finish for all the upcoming 18thC stuff, and I was halfway through the boning channels before I was forced to abandon it to focus on life stuff. I still have everything together in the same project bag, so it shouldn't be hard to pick it back up and finish it. I also need to dig my smaller panniers out of storage and knock out a couple of petticoats, but I figure I can sort of save working on those for the 18thC undies workshop next month since they're an easy project.

I want to use the brown embroidered fabric that I picked up last weekend for a ~1760s en forreau gown with lots of fly fringe, so I need to get started on the fringe so I can have some extra time for trial and error. I also need to find some matching or complimentary fabric for a petticoat. I'm not quite sure what to actually do for the petticoat yet, but I'm thinking a plain brown taffeta in the same color as the ground for the embroidery, with the furbelows trimmed with the fly fringe so it all ties together. But I'm also thinking of doing a deep coral colored petticoat to give a pop of color to a pretty earthy colored dress. I guess I'll just have to see what the warehouses offer up. And I can still work on the gown until I figure out what to do about the petticoat.

M also needs a whole new ensemble for the Casanova event in September, but I have a complete blank on what to make for him. I guess I could revisit the unfinished purple and yellow ensemble, or try and spruce his burgundy coat, but I'm feeling very 'meh' about both of those. He is giving me no input on what he wants, saying only that he trusts my tastes and likes pretty much everything I make for him, which is very sweet but totally unhelpful. Whatever I end up doing, he needs breeches, a shirt, a waistcoat, a coat, and a wig, so I better figure it out soon so I can get started.


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